Especially if you post some comments ; )!
We arrived after a jolting and death defying bus ride. It was so bad Greg stood up and yelled at the driver to slow down while I imagined our deaths and came up with tombstone epitaphs (here lies Greg & Jade killed by asia - driven over the edge by a reckless cambodian bus driver).
We then grabbed a local tuktuk and in the space of 15min were scoped out by two kids on motorbikes - our driver turned around and yelled at us to hold our bags while he then yelled at the kids who sped off - and saw a thief run across the road, with an angry guard after him which stopped traffic as the guard beat him soundly with a huge stick. And I mean beat the crap out of him. It was so brutal and yet the guy had just snatched a lady's necklace.
Ooookay then. Valuables keep out of sight and safe. Hold onto all our bags. Welcome to Phnom Penh!
Met our awesome airbnb host Kay another aussie who is living and working with an NGO in Cambodia, and had drinks by the river at a fancy French bar. It was so nice to have a glass of rose with a fellow aussie.
Tuol Sleng - S21
Kay had urged us to get a guide, and I was so grateful that we did. Our guide just happened to have written books and was currently adding extra sections onto the museum. Unfortunately I didn't write down his name! He told us how 1600 people were sentenced here, yet only 2 children and 4 adults survived. The survivors are amazingly still in touch and a couple still sit here in the prison to talk to tourists, and have books on their stories.
The prison has been cleaned up but they’ve left the tiles with stained blood, the wire fences and torture implements that were found there. The cells were tiny about the size of a single bed.
The brutality of the KR was unbelievable, they evacuated everyone from Phnom Penh to the countryside to work in labor camps. They killed 2-3 million of the overall 7mill population. Many photos of the imprisoned are on display including a few Australian, French and even a Kiwi whose boats happened to stray close to the coast of Cambodia and were picked up by the Khmer Rouge army. After their entrance photo, they were never seen again.
During the four years of the prison operation, many prison guards and party people ended up there too because of the increasing paranoia of the KR leader Pol Pot. Torture, and experimentation to obtain false confessions of CIA and KGB affiliations from farmers, women and children. Whilst horrific, it is something that needs to be seen and understood.
The Security of Regulation
- you must answer according to my questions – Don’t turn them away
- Don’t try to hide the facts by making pretexts this and that
You are strictly prohibited to contest me
- Don’t be fool for you are a chap who dare to thwart the revolution.
- you must immediately answer my questions without wasting time to reflect.
- Don’t tell me either about your immoralities or the essence of the revolution.
- While getting lashes or electrification you must not cry at all
- Do nothing, sit still and wait for my orders. If there is no order, keep quiet. when I ask you to do something, you must do it right away without protesting.
- Don’t make pretext about Kampuchea Krom in order to hide your secret or traitor.
- If you don’t follow all the above rules, you shall get many lashes of electric wire.
- If you disobey any point of my regulations you shall get either ten lashes or five shocks of electric discharge
Later over dinner discussing the prison and KR regime, we realised that anyone around our age 35 years, or older would've grown up under the Khmer Rouge regime. Looking around the restaurant this was at least 80% of people, a stark reminder to us that this country and it's people are still recovering.